This paper attempts to study the diasporic dimension of Indian diasporic writer late Aga Shahid Ali who emigrated from Kashmir to America. Aga Shahid Ali narrates the loss of his homeland due to enforced migration and rexhibit the original exilic resonance of diasporic experience. In his poetic collection ‘the country without a post office’, the poet articulates diasporic experience of exile, loss, pain and creates possibilities of Kashmiri diaspora in America.
Key words: Aga Shahid Ali, The country without a post office, Diaspora.
Exile or Diaspora is a broad theme and has been widely discussed in literature. Indeed, William Safran calls it an academic growth industry. In the context of literature, the theme of exile is often marked by a divided loyalty towards both the host country and the homeland. Many theorist believe that through physical spacing can be necessary to produce a sense of homelessness and nostalgia, yet one does not need to be physically removed from the homeland in order to be exiled; one may feel exiled in one’s land if it is felt that indigenous culture has been attenuated by foreign influence Edward Said opines, ‘Exile is fundamentally tied to the notion of intellection. It refers to those who are resistant to set notions as against those who conform. Basically the term Diaspora refers to the work of exiles and expatriates and all those who have experienced unsettlement and dislocation at the political, existential or metaphorical levels and Diaspora literature involves an idea of a homeland, a place from where the displacement occurs. Avatar Brah writes that the term Diaspora, embodies a notion of centre, a locus, a home from which the dispersion occurs. In fact, at the heart of the notion of Diaspora is the image of journey which essentially is about settling down, about putting roots elsewhere (Brah 443).
Aga Shahid Ali as a Diasporic writer:
Aga Shahid Ali was born in 1949, the son of distinguished and highly educated family of Kashmir. He attended university of Kashmir, University of Delhi as well as Pennsylvania state university and university of Arizona. Though a Kashmiri Muslim, Ali is best known in the U.S and is identified more as an American poet writing in English and he, himself considered himself to be ‘a triple exile’ from Kashmir, India and United States.
Aga Shahid Ali chose to be in exile in order to pursue his career. He went to the United States of America to pursue PhD in English and later took up various research and teaching positions. However, in the land of dreams he had dreams about his homeland. Shahid is chased by his memories of Kashmir and a surrealist account of incidents and landscapes is found abundantly in his poetry.
From Zero Bridge
A shadow chased by search lights is running
is running away to find its body. On the edge of cantonment,
Where Gupkar road ends shrink almost into nothing.
Among the handful of post independence Indian poets to have gained international...